A Field Guide to Dragons
11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday, Wednesday, Jan. 5, through Saturday, Jan. 29
Stone Dragon Studio
1122 N. Stone Ave.
405-5800 or 624-7099
The full-color gliceés of dragons made by Lawrence W. Lee have been in the works for quite some time.
"The inspiration (for the show) began during a road trip from Tucson to San Diego some 30 years ago," said Lee via e-mail. "I was cloud-watching and began to fantasize about dragons in the clouds."
When he returned from his trip, he drew up a few pictures using one of the first color-paint programs for the Apple computer. He also wrote out descriptions and personalities for the dragons—but ended up putting the work aside. Recently, a friend made him promise to finish the art, and with that promise made, Lee has delivered some imaginative new art. The results can be seen in his new show, A Field Guide to Dragons.
The pictures are made using a unique process. They start out as pen-and-ink drawings, and are then scanned into the computer. From there, they are loaded into Painter X and Photoshop and completed. The process takes several steps, and Lee said he did his best to stay true to his original texts about the dragons.
The art is a clear representation of creativity, and the pictures coupled with the descriptions are quite a sight to see. They vary greatly in color, size and shape.
Of course, this show may be just the start of Lee's dragons. "There are other dragons, of course; this is only an introductory field guide for a couple of dozen of them," explained Lee.
Admission to the show is free. —A.G.
The '40s Return
The Manhattan Dolls
7 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 4
288 N. Church Ave.
Both fashion and music have been through some embarrassing times in America (I'm looking at you, early '90s), but the lure of the perfectly manicured curls, black eyeliner and pristine red lips of women in the '30s and '40s have stood the test of time.
The Manhattan Dolls are bringing this classic look—along with the music of the era—to Tucson.
UA graduate Heather Dispensa, who formed the group, said that she fell in love with performing big-band songs during her involvement in 2008 with the United Service Organizations (USO), as she traveled around the world performing for active-duty military members and veterans.
"My time with the USO was life-changing," said Dispensa. "The hardest thing about it was performing for deployments, but it was also amazing seeing these families come together to say goodbye. They are so proud of their soldiers—it was so American and patriotic."
Dispensa has refused to sign with a management company, because she insists on having the option to do free shows, like the performances that the Dolls offer at veterans' hospitals.
Dispensa and the other members of the group do all of their own costuming, choreography and marketing. The various Dolls range in age from their mid-20s to early 30s, but tour in trios. Their Tucson performance will include Dispensa, Sarah Drake, and Sheila Coyle performing their 1940s World War II act, which Dispensa described as one-of-a-kind.
"No one does this type of music anymore, with the tight harmonies and big bands," she said.
Tickets can be purchased in advance for $15 on the Dolls' website, or at the door for $20. The Dolls will also perform at the Gaslight Theatre on Monday, Jan. 10. —E.A.
10 p.m., each Wednesday, starting Jan. 5
110 E. Congress St.
Say what you want about metal, but one thing stands firm: It is extremely engaging, with a devout following (self-proclaimed metalheads) and enough sub-genres to fill up an extra-large velvet dice bag.
But metalheads are more than just basement-dwelling cynics with an affinity for role-playing games, distorted guitar noise and blast-beat drumming; metalheads are people, too, with a need to gather and, ahem, rock.
Warlock Wednesdays is slated to be a weekly event at Vaudeville, created by local DJ Casey Dewey, aka Dewtron. It will showcase a wide variety of metal, from heavy favorites like Black Sabbath, to lesser-known black-metal bands like Norway's Burzum.
Dewey explains that the term "warlock" in Warlock Wednesdays is a tongue-in-cheek reference to some of the more nerdy things associated with metal.
"Warlocks, witches, wizards, orcs, elfs ... I'm not adverse to people getting a game of Dungeons and Dragons going on," said Dewey. "As a matter of fact, I would like to encourage it."
The idea for the event came to Dewey while he was watching a screening of the film Valhalla Rising, about a crusading Norse warrior named One Eye.
"It's a unique film," said Dewey. "(It's) sparse, not a lot of dialogue. ... There are long stretches of silence, and then somebody will say something deep and heavy. It's like listening to a drone-rock album where a track is a half-hour long, and you get a sense of impending doom around the corner."
For now, the event will consist of a live DJ—Dewtron—and various guest artists, with screens showing films. Dewey also hopes to bring live music into the equation at some point.
Doors open at 10 p.m. There is no cover charge. —E.A.
The Human Experience
25 Years of Photography: Teec Nos Pos, Tibet, Tucson
10 a.m. to 4 p.m., daily, Sunday, Jan. 2, through Friday, Jan. 14
DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun Little Gallery
6300 N. Swan Road
The beautiful photographs by Bill Baker on display in his upcoming show, 25 Years of Photography: Teec Nos Pos, Tibet, Tucson, span three very different parts of the world, capturing landscapes and architecture—as well as the human experience.
Baker began taking photographs when he was living near Teec Nos Pos in Arizona's Apache County. "I felt a strong sense of sensuality and timelessness out there, and wanted to see if it would translate onto paper," he said. He began by taking abstract close-ups of sand dunes, and his work evolved from there.
Baker's Teec Nos Pos and Navajo-area photographs are hauntingly beautiful. They capture wide-open landscapes and the natural beauty of the aforementioned sand patterns.
Only one of the photographs in the show is digital. This, said the artist, involves something of a transition for him. "For those people who prefer the quality of non-digital color, this show is an opportunity to enjoy the medium," he explained.
In his artist statement, Baker said he wants his work to connect with the viewer. "The purpose of my photography is to evoke within the observer an immediate sense of 'being,' of everything being sensuous and a part of the human experience. Satisfying images should feel visually and emotionally in balance."
Check out Baker's work at his upcoming show at the DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun Little Gallery. The exhibit opens Jan. 2 and continues daily through Jan. 14. Admission is free. —A.G.